Last summer, a man in the Midlands stepped into his van, turned on the ignition, and pulled away from the kerb — and he had little doubt about what he wanted to do.
He was on the lookout for a young girl, any girl, a girl with whom he could strike up conversation before bundling her into his van and taking her off somewhere to abuse.
For decades, the 42-year-old man had harboured fantasies about young girls, ever since, in his 20s, he’d watched a friend groom and sexually assault a number of them.
He had struck before: In 1998, he served a six-year-and-10-month sentence for the rape and false imprisonment of a young girl.
Driving around last July, he spotted one potential victim, then another, but, for one reason or another, he couldn’t get them into the van.
Then he spotted a third, a 13-year-old on a bike.
He pulled up alongside her, casually asked her for directions and then got out of the van on the pretext of clarifying some of the directions. He then grabbed hold of the startled girl and tried to shove her into the back door of the vehicle.
The girl saw a rope inside.
She fell to the ground, lashing out at the man: Kicking him and biting his leg. In the struggle, her top came off but she managed to flee.
Yesterday the man — Dermot Murphy of Tramore, Co Waterford — was remanded in custody so that psychiatric and other evaluation reports can be completed.
Judge Tony Hunt said it was only the victim’s strength of character and physical strength which prevented something happening “which hardly bears thinking about”, and warned he was considering a long jail sentence.
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